Seattle City Light is requesting the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to permanently close public access to the southern portion of Diagonal Avenue South between 4th Avenue South and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. This currently lies within City Light’s fenced-in property and has been used for storage under a Street Use Permit.
Owning this property will allow City Light to upgrade this area for better safety and environmental outcomes:
- Reduce water damage from flooding during winter months.
- Treat stormwater runoff into the Duwamish River;
- Improve site security; and
- Use the property more efficiently.
The redesign of this property will not result in any changes to the use of adjacent streets or neighborhood character.
The property exchange is subject to the review of the Seattle Design Commission and the Seattle Department of Transportation. It must be approved by the Seattle City Council.
Should City Light pursue a street vacation for this section of the road, it will be required to identify a public benefit for Seattle residents to offset this acquisition. City Light would transfer a vacant property on East Marginal Way South to Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks). The vacant Georgetown property is double the size of the Diagonal Avenue South property. Parks is exploring the potential of using this area for an off-leash dog park, possibly with a public walking/biking connector trail.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS A STREET VACATION?
A street vacation refers to the process where a property owner (in this case, Seattle City Light) petitions Seattle City Council to acquire adjacent street right-of-way for use other than as a public roadway. The responsibility for making these decisions is assigned to the City Council. The City Council will consider public comments that were collected prior to or at a public hearing before making a formal decision about the petition.
WHY IS SEATTLE CITY LIGHT CONSIDERING A STREET VACATION?
For several years, Seattle City Light has continuously operated this 13,300-square-foot portion of Diagonal Avenue South under a street use permit. Under this permit, the utility has restricted public access to this portion of Diagonal Avenue South. In order to make safety, operational and environmental improvements, City Light is considering taking ownership of this section of Diagonal Avenue South, which is surrounded by the utility’s South Service Center property.
HOW WILL THE NEIGHBORHOOD BE IMPACTED?
The closed portion of Diagonal Avenue South (subject of this vacation petition) has been in industrial use. Access to 2nd Avenue South is currently restricted by the railroad tracks directly west of the City Light property. Transferring the ownership of this property from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to Seattle City Light is not expected to have any impact on surrounding properties or neighborhood circulation patterns.
HOW DOES THE STREET VACATION PROCESS WORK?
The petition is governed by the Seattle City Council Street Vacation Policies that were adopted in 2018. The petition for a street vacation is reviewed by SDOT which maintains the city’s rights to all public rights-of-way. SDOT works with the Seattle Design Commission (SDC) to make sure the street vacation process is equitable and does not impact the community. The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) reviews and approves the outreach strategy for all street vacation proposals. After the public outreach strategy has been implemented, the petition is reviewed by SDOT and the SDC before it is forwarded to the City Council for approval.
HOW DOES THE STREET VACATION BENEFIT SEATTLE RESIDENTS?
The petitioner, Seattle City Light must provide an offsetting benefit to Seattle residents for transferring property out of the public right-of-way. The benefit can take many forms. In this case, City Light would transfer ownership of a 30,000-square-foot property in the Georgetown neighborhood to Seattle Parks and Recreation. The Georgetown community recognizes this property’s potential to become a community amenity. Seattle Parks and Recreation is exploring the potential to use this as an off-leash dog park, possibly with a walking and biking trail.
HOW CAN I GET CURRENT INFORMATION ABOUT THIS VACATION PETITION?
As part of this petition, City Light will host two public meetings to provide details about this proposal and how this will affect the SODO/Georgetown area. Public comments will be collected at both meetings. Please check back on this site for project news and updates.